RWJF Southwest Health Reporting Initiative

Anikka Abbott reporting on farmworker health near Willcox, Az.

One of the Cronkite School’s newest professional programs is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Southwest Health Reporting Initiative, which seeks to provide trusted, high-quality news about health to audiences throughout the Southwest.

Students report on health-related topics and issues, with a particular focus on Latino, Native American and Spanish-speaking border communities in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Southern California and Texas – regions that have among the country’s poorest health outcomes, combined with unequal access to quality health information. As part of their experience, students travel to and engage with the communities they cover in order to report more deeply and have more impact.

The new health reporting program is part of Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. Student work is published on the Cronkite News website and distributed to print, digital, radio and TV news outlets around the state and region.

Students are directed by two experienced journalists: Pauline Arrillaga and Julio Cisneros. Arrillaga is the former national editor for The Associated Press. In that position, she oversaw all of AP’s enterprise journalism in the United States. Cisneros has 23 years of experience as a reporter, director and editor at Spanish-language television, radio and digital outlets, including Telemundo and Univision.

The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. The school has several graduate assistantships and scholarships available to students who are interested in pursuing health reporting as a career. Interested graduate students should contact Cronkite Assistant Dean Rebecca Blatt.

The new initiative is made possible through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is committed to improving health and health care in the U.S.


Pauline Arrillaga

Pauline Arrillaga

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Professor of Practice

Julio Cisneros

Julio Cisneros

Professor of Practice in Health News, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation